Psychophysical experiments have demonstrated that the brain integrates information from multiple sensory cues in a near Bayesian optimal manner. The present study proposes a novel mechanism to achieve this. We consider two reciprocally connected networks, mimicking the integration of heading direction information between the dorsal medial superior temporal (MSTd) and the ventral intraparietal (VIP) areas. Each network serves as a local estimator and receives an independent cue, either the visual or the vestibular, as direct input for the external stimulus. We find that positive reciprocal interactions can improve the decoding accuracy of each individual network as if it implements Bayesian inference from two cues. Our model successfully explains the experimental finding that both MSTd and VIP achieve Bayesian multisensory integration, though each of them only receives a single cue as direct external input. Our result suggests that the brain may implement optimal information integration distributively at each local estimator through the reciprocal connections between cortical regions.

Kanagawa, Motonobu, Hennig, Philipp

Adaptive Bayesian quadrature (ABQ) is a powerful approach to numerical integration that empirically compares favorably with Monte Carlo integration on problems of medium dimensionality (where non-adaptive quadrature is not competitive). Its key ingredient is an acquisition function that changes as a function of previously collected values of the integrand. While this adaptivity appears to be empirically powerful, it complicates analysis. Consequently, there are no theoretical guarantees so far for this class of methods. In this work, for a broad class of adaptive Bayesian quadrature methods, we prove consistency, deriving non-tight but informative convergence rates.

Oates, Chris, Niederer, Steven, Lee, Angela, Briol, François-Xavier, Girolami, Mark

This paper studies the numerical computation of integrals, representing estimates or predictions, over the output $f(x)$ of a computational model with respect to a distribution $p(\mathrm{d}x)$ over uncertain inputs $x$ to the model. For the functional cardiac models that motivate this work, neither $f$ nor $p$ possess a closed-form expression and evaluation of either requires $\approx$ 100 CPU hours, precluding standard numerical integration methods. Our proposal is to treat integration as an estimation problem, with a joint model for both the a priori unknown function $f$ and the a priori unknown distribution $p$. The result is a posterior distribution over the integral that explicitly accounts for dual sources of numerical approximation error due to a severely limited computational budget. This construction is applied to account, in a statistically principled manner, for the impact of numerical errors that (at present) are confounding factors in functional cardiac model assessment.

Körding, Konrad P., Tenenbaum, Joshua B.

Many recent studies analyze how data from different modalities can be combined. Often this is modeled as a system that optimally combines several sources of information aboutthe same variable. However, it has long been realized that this information combining depends on the interpretation of the data. Two cues that are perceived by different modalities can have different causal relationships: (1) They can both have the same cause, in this case we should fully integrate both cues into a joint estimate.

Xi, Xiaoyue, Briol, François-Xavier, Girolami, Mark

Bayesian probabilistic numerical methods are a set of tools providing posterior distributions on the output of numerical methods. The use of these methods is usually motivated by the fact that they can represent our uncertainty due to incomplete/finite information about the continuous mathematical problem being approximated. In this paper, we demonstrate that this paradigm can provide additional advantages, such as the possibility of transferring information between several numerical methods. This allows users to represent uncertainty in a more faithful manner and, as a by-product, provide increased numerical efficiency. We propose the first such numerical method by extending the well-known Bayesian quadrature algorithm to the case where we are interested in computing the integral of several related functions. We then prove convergence rates for the method in the well-specified and misspecified cases, and demonstrate its efficiency in the context of multi-fidelity models for complex engineering systems and a problem of global illumination in computer graphics.